Hand Made Monograms & Ciphers

Through many years of experience, three decades to be precise, Mrs. Collins has refined a unique process for creating hand-drawn monograms and ciphers. To begin, a research and discovery process similar to that which design firms use for branding a company is employed. Utilizing a series of questions, consultations, and conversations, each new client’s expectations and preferences are determined. The goal is an exchange of information that builds a client profile singular to that person.

Each new client is guided through Mrs. Collins’s proprietary 13 Questions. With the answers, your likes and dislikes in style, fashion, historical periods and heroes, authors, movies, decorators, designers, countries, cities, and artists are learned. Clients are encouraged to think about and share lettering and monogram styles that appeal to them.

Monogram Sketch

Once this relationship has been established and the exchange of ideas and information are in play, Mrs. Collins’s “Muse” goes into action. The Muse is Mrs. Collins’s creative process. It is her brain at work which is art and not science.

With the information gathered in the 13 Questions, and ongoing dialogue with the client, is combined with the collective studio imagination, and design ideas are created. These are hand-drawn by Mrs. Collins with her favorite “stubby” graphite pencil on tracing paper. Hours of research, Mrs. Collins’s creative process (ask her about this process), and sketching go into this first phase. At the end of this phase, two to three ideas are presented in this rough, black and white, pencil sketch form. The sketches are sent via email in a digital file for client review.

From those sketched ideas, one is chosen. That one is then referred to as the Design. Changes of up to 20% of the Design can be requested. The Design and requested changes are then refined and finalized into a Finished Pencil Sketch Design. This is provided digitally for final approval. Further modifications can be made and will be performed by quotation only. Modifications and changes of general direction at this point will also be developed after a quotation for the additional cost is approved and paid. Contact Mrs. Collins directly to confer.

Browse through the Portfolio page samples of engraved monograms and ciphers Mrs. Collins has created. All of them began with a Finished Pencil Sketch Design. All artwork in this studio begins in this manner, with a pencil sketch. So. how does a sketch become engraved stationery? Go to Bespoke Stationery for how a Finished Pencil Sketch Design. is used.

Midway through the monogram sketching process. Shown are the many layers of alterations comprising a sketch.

Classically speaking, most letter combinations we think of as monograms are ciphers. Here are the differences.


A design made with interlocking initials in which the structure of each is dependent on the main piece of each of the other letters. If the individual letters in a monogram were separated, they would not appear the same as the letters they represent when intertwined.

Cipher and Cypher:

An arrangement of initials. Unlike a true monogram, the individual letters do not have to connect or even touch. Many so-called monograms today are actually ciphers.

Ready to begin?

Commission your own monogram, cipher, and to inquire.

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